Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Summary (hunted down on Goodreads): Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."
"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.
Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.
When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.
What I Think: I picked this book up because it had a cool cover and a movie to match it. I didn't expect what it would turn out to be. I didn't have high expectations for it either. I went into it with an open mind. Perhaps, my mind was too open. The novel starts out by stating the "facts". Yes, I realize that this novel is fiction and nothing more but constantly during my time spent reading this novel, I caught myself questioning reality. The author did a wonderful job of making it seem real. It was unbelievable.
I love that the novel goes back and forth between diary passages and the author's comments. The author puts himself in the story as the narrator. He's almost like a lawyer arguing his case. It's like he's trying to prove that it's real and the passages are his proof. It's fascinating. I've never read anything that presents the story in this manner. I enjoyed it a great deal. It does however make the pages seem longer or...something. The novel isn't as long as it seems because of this back and forth and formatting changes. It's not distracting however.
There is enough fact woven into the fiction to make you pay attention. It also makes you feel bad for Lincoln. He had a lot of heart break and pain in his life according to this novel. It's really amazing that the character of Lincoln (not the real one, this review is confusing me) survived all that he did. The sudden dreams really through you off so watch out for those; the author is sneaky.
There were some annoyingly large time gaps. I understand that I don't really want to read about 50 years of a life, I just wish that the time gaps would have been stated clearly and more often than they were. There were also a lot of characters that the reader has to keep straight. I eventually gave up trying and just started hoping for the best but between the number of characters and the amount of death in this novel, it's not an easy feat.
This was a fairly easy and fast read for me. I'll go with it not being a waste of time. It's not exactly a young adult work though. It's definitely a real grown up novel. I still love my young adult fiction to have thrown myself fully into this story. I wish I could. Maybe when I'm older, it'll get a reread just to see if the rating goes up.
Basically: I enjoyed this novel and it was really good at trying to trick you into thinking this is really how history went down. I love the novel for that. I thought this was interesting. If you like vampire stuff (Twilight excepted) or action novels then I recommend you at least give this book a quick scan as you walk past it in the book store. I liked it.
Movie: I have yet to watch it though I have it here at my house. I'll get back to you on it. I have to credit with the movie for spiking my interest in this novel in the first place. Without the movie, I would never have heard anything about this novel nor would it have had the cool movie cover that made me pick it up (I do judge books by the cover). I hope the movie is good.